There is no substitute for a culture of integrity in organizations. Compliance alone with the law is not enough. History shows that those who make a practice of skating close to the edge always wind up going over the line. A higher bar of ethics performance is necessary. That bar needs to be set and monitored in the boardroom.  ~J. Richard Finlay writing in The Globe and Mail.

Sound governance is not some abstract ideal or utopian pipe dream. Nor does it occur by accident or through sudden outbreaks of altruism. It happens when leaders lead with integrity, when directors actually direct and when stakeholders demand the highest level of ethics and accountability.  ~ J. Richard Finlay in testimony before the Standing Committee on Banking, Commerce and the Economy, Senate of Canada.

The Finlay Centre for Corporate & Public Governance is the longest continuously cited voice on modern governance standards. Our work over the course of four decades helped to build the new paradigm of ethics and accountability by which many corporations and public institutions are judged today.

The Finlay Centre was founded by J. Richard Finlay, one of the world’s most prescient voices for sound boardroom practices, sanity in CEO pay and the ethical responsibilities of trusted leaders. He coined the term stakeholder capitalism in the 1980s.

We pioneered the attributes of environmental responsibility, social purposefulness and successful governance decades before the arrival of ESG. Today we are trying to rebuild the trust that many dubious ESG practices have shattered. 


We were the first to predict seismic boardroom flashpoints and downfalls and played key roles in regulatory milestones and reforms.

We’re working to advance the agenda of the new boardroom and public institution of today: diversity at the table; ethics that shine through a culture of integrity; the next chapter in stakeholder capitalism; and leadership that stands as an unrelenting champion for all stakeholders.

Our landmark work in creating what we called a culture of integrity and the ethical practices of trusted organizations has been praised, recognized and replicated around the world.


Our rich institutional memory, combined with a record of innovative thinking for tomorrow’s challenges, provide umatached resources to corporate and public sector players.

Trust is the asset that is unseen until it is shattered.  When crisis hits, we know a thing or two about how to rebuild trust— especially in turbulent times.

We’re still one of the world’s most recognized voices on CEO pay and the role of boards as compensation credibility gatekeepers. Somebody has to be.

The law has finally caught up with the stumbling insurance giant’s out-of-control compensation and highflying junkets.

It took the sight of flashing red and blue lights in their rearview mirror before the visionless directors of AIG finally got the message about their failures and shortcomings.  Last week, we commented on the excesses in executive compensation and numerous public relations disasters that have occurred on their watch.  That was, of course, in addition to the complete meltdown of the company that resulted in the U.S. government’s huge bailout.   We said at that time:

AIG’s directors should either get a grip on the company and show they comprehend the new public dimension to their duties, or they should find another line of work.

Yesterday, New York state’s top cop and Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, sent a blistering letter to each member of AIG’s board demanding that they shape up and behave like the trustees of billions of dollars in public funds which they have become.  As Mr. Cuomo wrote:

In the last several months, as AIG was teetering toward bankruptcy, and operating with unreasonably small capital, AIG nevertheless made numerous extraordinary expenditures in the form of executive compensation payments, junkets, and perks for its executives.

The letter went on to demand:

…the Board should immediately cease and desist these improper and extravagant expenditures which exploit the taxpayers of this Nation.

Today, in the wake of yet another revelation -this time, AIG executives taking a private jet to enjoy an $86,000 weekend of pheasant shooting at an English estate- the company announced a new policy to retrain pay, account for previous compensation deals and end highflying parties.

Is it possible the sirens of public outrage have finally awakened the slumbering insurance giant’s board?  Stay tuned.